August 2, 2017

Open joint siding? Prolonged UV exposure on WRB? The Answer is SOLITEX Fronta Quattro

Fronta_Quattro_ApplicationSOLITEX Fronta Quattro is making waves in the high performance industry as a specialty air barrier and weather resistant barrier (WRB). What’s driving the interest? Fronta Quattro offers exceptional UV protection, making it ideal for projects with so-called “open-joint” rainscreen cladding systems in which parts of the underlying WRB are permanently exposed to the sun’s rays. Other builders choose Fronta Quattro for projects where UV exposure exceeds 3 months.

Like all SOLITEX products by Pro Clima, Fronta Quattro provides a continuous monolithic TEEE protective layer that is completely airtight and waterproof, while still allowing the most reliable outward drying potential to keep wall moisture levels safely low. No other UV-resistant WRB offers this advanced non-porous technology. Combined with its extremely resilient cover fleece and overall thickness of 0.6mm (24 mils), Fronta Quattro guarantees the most durable and long-lasting walls in any climate zone. Conventional-vs-solid-housewrapWhen used with black TESCON Invis waterproof airtight tape, the all-black protective layer disappears into the background and makes for extra sharp shadow lines.

Rainscreen cladding systems have become a staple for high performance water management. And for good reason – we like to say a vented rainscreen is what a high performance building wants, so that it can keep the enclosure dry and protected. But open-joint rainscreen systems go a step further – leaving joints intentionally open so weather could get behind the cladding. This requires not only exceptional WRB performance, but also permanent UV resistance. Here’s a look at some of our favorite projects using SOLITEX Fronta Quattro.

Little House on the Ferry, Vinalhaven, Maine

Little-House__P9B2694_edit_Trent-BellThe picturesque cabins in these photos are actually a seasonal guest residence on Vinalhaven, an island in Maine’s Penobscot Bay. Exposure to the harsh coastal Maine climate is usually enough of a liability for most enclosures, but the architects at GO Logic in Belfast, ME demanded more. In this project, by effectively splitting one house into three, adding an open-joint rainscreen and doing away with overhangs, the job of protecting these structures falls disproportionately onto the wall WRB – SOLITEX Fronta Quattro. This technology helped to free the architects to pursue their simple and elegant forms that integrate perfectly into this rustic setting.

Little-House__P9B2897_edit_Trent-Bell-1

Only on closer inspection does one appreciate the design elements that enable the architects to pull this off. The open-joint cladding rises up organically from the wood decking, as if pulled directly from the landscape. Like the deck boards below, each wall board is framed by uninterrupted dark lines that reveal the simple geometry of the individual boards as well as the gable forms.

Alnoba Gathering Place, Kensington, New Hampshire

Alnoba4Also by GO Logic, this 14,000 SF mixed-use facility is a center for Alnoba‘s community mission. It is also built to the Passive House standard, mirroring Alnoba’s environmental focus. Fronta Quattro was taped with TESCON Invis for both Passive House airtightness and weather protection across the entire enclosure, including walls and roof.

The photo at left shows one part of the wall just before the final vertical open-joint cladding. While vertical strapping is all you need for horizontal cladding, the vertical cladding on this project required horizontal strapping on top of the vertical – hence the “double-strapped” grid in the left of the photo. This assures proper drainage and ventilation for optimal drying potential of the super-insulated and airtight walls beneath.

Passive House Office by ESCO, Boise, Idaho

A picture perfect project led by Skylar Swinford shows how it’s done. This one is in process, so follow Skylar’s Twitter account for more:

Residence in Kentucky by Natural Design Inc.

Jake-Harring-Fronta-quattro-in-KY

Before and after shots of a beautiful, rustic home in Kentucky. Built a few years back in 2013, Natural Design Inc. was an early adopter of SOLITEX Fronta Quattro. See more of the finished project on Natural Design’s home page.

Parmalee-Street-Condos-Boston

Parmalee Street Condos, Boston, MA

This developer-driven project in Boston’s South End – a 3-story wood frame addition over an existing masonry structure – faced a tight construction deadline. A fluid-applied weather barrier had been proposed, but Stack + Co., serving as both the design architect and construction manager, had concerns about weather delays spiraling out of control during the winter construction schedule. They were also concerned that the WRB would be exposed to UV beyond the typical 3 months on most warranties.

The solution? Fronta Quattro, with its 6 month UV exposure, solved both issues. Installation went smoothly throughout the winter months, but exposure did indeed exceed 3 months so the warranty was never in doubt. Stack + Co. completed the project in 11 months.
See more photos here.

A Quick Wrap…

FQ Durability First

We look forward to helping your project specify SOLITEX Fronta Quattro for your first open-joint rainscreen project. Durability is key, as the photo at left reminds us.

As discussed in the comments of this Green Building Advisor post from 2010: “Using #15 asphalt felt [in an open-joint rainscreen] would be very unwise, since it degrades quickly when exposed to UV.” Compared to UV-resistant alternatives on the market, Fronta Quattro is a bargain – especially when you consider that it delivers on high performance airtightness and moisture control as well.

Want more Fronta Quattro? Watch our video of Loading Dock 5 assembling a sauna that uses Fronta Quattro under an open joint rainscreen.

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